Gabrielle Lawrence is the creator of People-file, an Instagram-grown street-casting agency that’s been quietly redefining notions of beauty in fashion since its launch in 2016. Started as a personal project cataloguing the interesting faces Gabrielle came across each day, People-file has since grown into an influential portal favoured by huge luxury brands and major fashion titles. A simple scroll through People-file’s Instagram feed reveals a talent roster diverse in size, shape, age, gender, culture, religion and beyond. And with clients ranging from Bottega, Burberry, Stüssy and Zara through to Vogue and i-D ourselves, People-file is well-positioned to have an impact on the kind of people represented in the media every day.
As Gabrielle explains, “People-file has a strong focus on finding unknown, unique talent. We believe there are lots of interesting people out there, far and wide, who would otherwise go unnoticed. We believe in casting that is diverse in every way: through race, religion, social and economic status. We love all people”.
We spoke to Gabrielle to understand more about her perspective on beauty and her experience developing a brand that’s doing its bit to lead fashion and beauty towards a better future.
You grew up in Australia and now run People-file from London. How do you think your background helped define your agency?
I grew up between a small coastal town and Sydney. There are elements of my upbringing that influence my casting, especially beach culture. I was always interested in arts and fashion but while living and working in London for almost ten years has had the most impact, I like to think People-file isn’t limited to one place or moment in time.
What made you interested in the casting process?
It’s such an important element of any production. I’m really drawn to street-casting as it’s really about finding those unknown characters who are somewhat unaware of their beauty.
How would you say that the street-casting process is changing beauty and fashion generally?
It’s definitely changing the fashion, beauty and advertising industry for the better as it’s making it much more relatable for the consumers. People can now see themselves reflected in media and maybe feel like they could be that person too. Representation matters and street casting has been a huge catalyst for that. I hope street-casting will continue and grow across fashion, beauty, film, advertising, and that everyone is represented.
What would surprise people most being a casting director?
That there is far more admin than anyone would expect! Working with street-cast people is quite different because they’re mostly unaware of the casting process.
How do you see the industry changing over the next ten years?
With the growth of social media platforms, people will be able to be scouted digitally anywhere.